The independent school sector has been under assault …
The independent school sector has been under assault … falling birth rates, affordability issues, a threat to charitable status, Brexit and the political uncertainty which accompanied it and TPS. As if this wasn’t enough, coronavirus then reared its ugly head and created havoc.
We now live in a world where schools are closed for most children and no-one knows when they will open again. Public exams have been cancelled. Fear and anxiety are widespread.
In these challenging and troubled times, schools in both the independent and state sectors are steadfastly providing pockets of positivity. As such they are rightfully attracting an outpouring of gratitude and praise in their communities. One teacher we know was given a rousing cheer by a van full of appreciative workmen as she was left school at the end of another long day. She certainly hadn’t experienced that kind of attention for a few years!
But there are pockets of positivity
Large numbers of schools have kept their doors open for the children of key workers and the staff in these schools are doing a sterling job in keeping the show on the road. Continuity of learning is being provided, together with the continuity of the school community and essential pastoral care. The digital age has come up trumps, able to provide pupils with an effective virtual school, thus providing a sense of normality in a world which is anything but normal.
Schools have always had a strong sense of social purpose and now, more than ever before, they are in a position to demonstrate this. The weekend papers were full of stories about Eton opening its doors to hundreds of children of key workers and the most vulnerable pupils, distributing meals to local schools for those on free school meals and offering free online courses to state schools.
True heroism will prevail!
However, it is not just the big, famous independent schools that are throwing their weight into the war against corona. We are hearing stories of true heroism and selfless behaviour from medium-sized and small schools, stories that won’t attract press attention or make the television news.
When the corona crisis is over, people will look back fondly and loyally at organisations and brands which have supported them. Virgin Atlantic will not win fans by asking staff to take unpaid leave, but BP will for offering free fuel to emergency vehicles.
We want to hear your stories
Head over to Twitter, using the hashtag #pocketsofpositivity, and tell us what your school is doing.